Archive for the ‘Blackness’ Category


Michael Jackson and his Blackness

November 29, 2009

“I know my race, I just look in the mirror..I know I’m black!”
— Michael 2002, Artists Against Racism

Once you’re past the skin colour change, something which was beyond his control and his nosejob, did Michael Jackson really want to be white? Was he really unhappy as a black man?

In a word… no.

The most success he achieved in his life was during Thriller, before his skin colour had begun to change. Why would he feel it necessary to then become white? Contrary to what the media may want you to believe Michael has never distanced himself from being a black man or the black community.

Michael was proud of his race and heritage and supported black and ethnic people an incredible amount in his lifetime.

  • All the women in his music videos have been ethnic — Ola Ray, Tatiana Thumbtzen, Naomi Campbell, Iman, Janet Jackson, Latoya Jackson, the girls in Come Together, Blood on The Dancefloor and You Rock My World.
  • Even went so far as to portray the King and Queen of Egypt as being black.
  • Heck, even most of the men in his videos have been black — Michael Jordan, Eddie Murphy, Chris Tucker, Wesley Snipes, his back-up dancers.
  • Featured an African chant at the end of “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin”
  • Morphed into a black panther at the end of Black or White (I mean, seriously, seriously).

  • Wrote a song called “They Don’t Care About Us,” which Spike Lee-directed, featuring prisoners raising the Black power fist
  • USA For Africa? We Are The World? Lionel Richie? Hello?
  • “Liberian Girl, you came and you changed my world.”
  • “White man gotta make a change/I ain’t scared of no sheets/black man, blackmail, throw your brother in jail”
  • Spoke about how he believes dance and rhythm is something intrinsic in African culture and life in his autobiography.
  • Reffered to himself as a black man on secret phone conversations during 1991/2 when he was already depigmented. Said the women in Germany liked black men (meaning himself), reffered to “other black music groups,” and “nappy hair” and says things are a “black thing” and even calls himself a “ni*ger” at one point.
  • The love of his life was Diana Ross, a black woman. He even wants his kids to be raised by her should anything happen to his own mother.
  • The only magazines he ever consistently gave interviews to was Jet/Ebony.
  • Gave a speech talking about how he knows he’s black in 2002, how he believes he was targeted by the media because he is a black man and spoke of how Elvis got as far as he did because of black people.
  • The only blonde love interests in his life were Debbie Rowe and Madonna (there goes that myth)
  • Rumoured love interests and women he reportedly said were hot — Shana Magatal, Jody Watley, Janelle Commissiong, Tatiana Thumbtzen, Stephanie Mills, Siedah Garret, Beyonce, Sade, Kelly Rowland, Marva King all ethnic.
  • Lisa Marie Presley, Brooke Shields, Tatum O Neal, brunettes.
  • 521 Visions of Fantasy Magazine, Sam Jose’s Black Starlett (In Notebook), SBSO
  • Grace, his children’s nanny is black.
  • I’d like someone to convince me that Blanket is white.
  • He accused Tommy Motola of racism and said that he wasn’t treating his black artists fairly.
  • Was a huge huge fan of James Brown and always insisted how much he was inspired by him as a musician and performer.
  • His collaborations included work with Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Biggie, Michael Jordan, Eddie Murphy, Boys II Men, R Kelly, Akon, Siedah Garrett, Heavy D, Slash, Kanye West, Rockwell, Lionel Richie, 3T, Lenny Kravitz, Jay Z, Will.I.Am, NeYo, Donna Summer, Brothers Johnson, Randy Crawford, Johnny Mathis, Greg Phillinganes, Jennifer Holliday, Deniece Williams, Ralph Tresvant, Safire, Bryan Loren, BLACKstreet, Brandy, Monica, Corey.
  • In a court deposition in 1996 he says he wants to set things straight and said he was proud that he was black and he doesn’t bleach his skin.
  • Cried when finding out Obama had been elected.

Some of the charities Michael contributed to:

  • Minority Aids Project
  • Motown Museum
  • Transafrica
  • United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
  • United Negro College Fund Ladder’s of Hope
  • YMCA – 28th Street/Crenshaw
  • Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)
  • Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles
  • Brotherhood Crusade
  • AIDS Project L.A
  • Dakar Foundation
  • National Rainbow Coalition
  • National Solidarity Fund
  • The Sickle Cell Research Foundation
  • The Carter Center’s Atlanta Project
  • Million Man March

Specific examples:

  • On 6th February 1984, after winning an unprecedented number of AMA awards Michael spoke to JET magazine about people in his life he was thankful for; Stevie Wonder, who expresses pride of race in his music. “That’s why I love Stevie Wonder’s album called Songs in The Key of Life… He had a song called Black Man and I just jumped up screaming when I heard that record because he’s showing the world what the Black man has done and what other races have done… He named it Black Man and all these people who have got the album sing it. And that’s the best way to bring about the truth.”
  • At the February Grammys in 1984 Michael dedicated his Album of the Year Grammy for Thriller to Jackie Wilson (who had died the previous few weeks), saying, “In the entertainment business, there are leaders and there are followers. And I just want to say that I think Jackie Wilson was a wonderful entertainer…I love you and thank you so much.” He is reported to have helped pay for funeral costs alongside Eddie Murphy.
  • On September 13 87, he displays his support towards a campaign against racism, as well as towards “NAACP”s mission to help arrest prejudiced conduct against black artists.
  • In November 1987 he organized a private visit to Murawina Redfern Preschool, a school catered to Aboriginal children and Michael was especially interested in Black deaths in custody, spending 2 hours talking with all the teachers there. He provided the school with 100 free tickets after learning the students couldn’t afford his shows.
  • March 3, 4, 5 1988 gigs at Madison Square Gardens in aid of United Negro College Fund
  • On March 1, 1988, at a press conference organized by his sponsor, Pepsi, he offers UNCF’s President Christopher Edley a check for 600,000 dollars, making him one of “UNCF”s most significant donators.
  • On March 10, 1988, he issues the following message regarding the “United Negro College Fund” he would support: “I would like to say this about the United Negro College Fund. An education opens a person’s mind to the entire world, and there is nothing more important than to make sure everyone has the opportunity for an education. To want to learn, to have the capacity to learn and not to be able to is a tragedy. I am honored to be associated with an evening that says this will never happen.”
  • On October 23, 1988, he announces a substantial donation for the Motown Museum in Detroit, Michigan: “It’s great to be here. I’m happy and proud to give back to the soil from which I came. Berry Gordy made it all possible for me, and I want to say I love you, Berry, and thank you.”
  • On November 13, 1989, Jackson performs song “You Were There” (that he wrote for singer Sammy Davis Jr.) for the first and only time, at a musical gala honouring Davis Jr., the event’s funds advantaging the “United Negro College Fund”
  • Between February 11 and February 18, 1992 – and on occasion of Black History Month – the artist tours 30,000 miles of the African continent in 11 days (covering 6 countries), where he visits medical centers, schools, churches, children’s housings and educational NGO’s for disabled children.
  • On December 26, 1992, the singer acknowledges the merits of the “United Negro College Fund”, by virtue of which the “Michael Jackson Scholarship Program” had enabled over 200 young men and women to receive qualified education up until that time.
  • June 1993, Michael announced a donation of $1.25 million for children suffering as a result of the riots in Los Angeles
  • On January 7, 1994, the pop star organizes, on occasion of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, a gala for 100 needy children at his Neverland residence.
  • During “UNCF”/Parade Of Stars, a broadcast request for donations to the “United Negro College Fund”, aired December 26, 1992, Michael Jackson speaks on the importance of equal rights to education and on the “Michael Jackson Scholarship Program” benefits: “Black Colleges and Universities produce some of the leading personalities of our time. They are leaders in business and law, science and technology, politics and religion. I’m proud to have helped over 200 young men and women receive a quality education that has placed them closer to their dreams through the Michael Jackson scholars program. Tonight, I encourage you to pitch in for higher education. Please support the “United Negro College Fund”.” The four year college and university/scholarship for deserving students at a UNCF member college or university, focuses on Communications, Performing Arts, Literature/English/Writing and is a distinction available to African-Americans.
  • On accepting Entertainer Of The Year award at the 25th “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People” event (NAACP Image Awards) in Pasadena, California on January 16, 1993, he delivers the following speech: “There are two things which the NAACP stands for which are the most important things in my life: freedom and equality. In every person, there is a secret song in their heart. It says: ‘I am free!’, it sings: ‘I am One!’. This is the natural feeling of every child. To be free as the wind, to be one with every other child. All the troubles in the world are caused by forgetting this feeling. Thank you for having the faith to see that I share your work — for I deeply feel I do. I accept this award on behalf of the world’s healing. When all our brothers and sisters will be as free and equal as we are today.
  • In 1994, at the 26th NAACP Image Awards, prior to presenting dancer/choreographer Debbie Allen with an award, he delivers a speech underlining the meaning behind the „NAACP” organization supporting equality of treatment for all races and human dignity, and exhibiting his sympathy to the “NAACP” members: “For decades, the NAACP has stood at the forefront of the struggle for equal justice under the law for all people in our land. They have fought in the lunch rooms of the South, in the hallowed halls of the Supreme Court and the board rooms of America, for justice, equality and the very dignity of all mankind. Members of the NAACP have been jailed and even killed in noble pursuit of those ideals, upon which our country was founded”
  • In an interview with children in 1996 he again states he believes that the Garden of Eden was in Africa.
  • On March 23, 1999, Michael Jackson meets Nelson Mandela at the President’s residence, Genadendal, in Cape Town, South Africa, The singer names Mr. Mandela “my inspiration to want to do something before the end of the century, to undertake what I call “An adventure of humanity”, before the birth of the millenium. I love this man very much and I love Africa.” He adds: “It is right to announce this project here in the very cradle of mankind: the birthplace of us all.” (more from the speech here)
  • In his conversations with Rabbi Shmuley in 2000/1 he discusses the “black rhythm” and Elvis; SB: Do you see white people having that rhythm?
    MJ: It’s not the same and I’m not saying it out of being…
    SB: But the sense of timing….
    MJ: Stan would always tell me, and he would go to all the black clubs… he would sit in the Apollo Theatre, he called it Cut-time rhythm. He said he had to have the black rhythm so he hung out with the blacks to get that cut-time rhythm. That’s what it’s all about, it’s that natural rhythm thing.
    SB: That reflects their inner rhythm?
    MJ: Yea, yea. But you take a little black child and they got the rhythm of a grown up, like a real dancer. And it’s just a natural ability, you know?

    SB: Well, that’s the whole question about Elvis, right?
    MJ: Elvis always hung out around blacks.
    SB: And he acquired that rhythm, right?
    MJ: Yea, he acquired that rhythm, he wanted to do the steps, and he talked black and acted black. We knew Elvis very well and Lisa Marie and myself always talked about how…
    SB: Had he not been a white man, you don’t think he would’ve been as successful, right?
    MJ: Not nearly. Not nearly because it would’ve been expected of him. Remember the slogan that Philips, who owned Sun Records, he said, “If I could only find a white man with a black man’s sound, I could make a million dollars,” and in comes Elvis Presley.
  • On July 9, 2002, on occasion of an event titled “Equality For Blacks In Music World”, Michael Jackson, alongside a host of musicians, producers and music executives, addresses issues pertaining the rights of artists, the corruption and conspiracy in the record industry system, particularly demanding better treatment for blacks from the major record companies. He concludes towards the audience: “It’s time for a change. And let’s not leave this building and forget what has been said. Put it into your heart, put it into your conscious mind, and let’s do something about it. We have to! It’s been a long, long timecoming and a change has got to come. So let’s hold our torches high and get the respect that we deserve. I love you. I love you. Please don’t put this in your heart today and forget it tomorrow. We will have not accomplished our purpose if that happens. This has got to stop! It’s got to stop, that’s why I’m here with the best to make sure that it stops. I love you, folks. And remember: we’re all brothers and sisters, no matter what color we are.”
  • Nn 2004, The African Ambassadors’ Spouses Association, honored Michael Jackson for his worldwide humanitarian efforts, due to his fiscal contribution of more than $50 million to various charities, including many organizations that feed the hungry in Africa
  • On November 8, 2007, the pop star participates at Reverend Jesse Jackson’s birthday celebration, the event also being a fundraiser.